creating an ethical culture
Why is it important?
Ethical leadership is a combination of character, of who you are as a person, and performance, the active promotion of principled behavior within the organization.
Turknett has developed a process that can help ensure that your organization has an ethical culture and that you have leaders who lead with character. Investing in a process that seeks to instill an ethical culture is especially important in the case where there is an ethical breach. Recent legal actions have been lessened for those who have invested in such programs.
Developing a Culture of Character – the three Cs
We believe that the concepts of Code, Character and Conversation provide a good framework for thinking about infusing ethics into organization culture. Turknett has developed a process called Growing Leadership Character that you can use to cascade these concepts deep into the organizational ranks.
- Start with a clear code of ethics
- Model the code every day. Leaders must make certain that their actions and ideals are visible and known
- Know personal values. Each employee must have a personal ethical code.
- Make the code live. Organizations must have leaders who create a culture of character and support a continuing conversation to keep ethics front and center.
- Use a guide like the Leadership Character Model for creating character in individuals and organizations.
- Make ethics front and center every day. Ethical issues can’t be separate from everyday business practices.
- Develop a culture where ethics is everyone’s job. Great leaders create practices that keep the ethical conversation alive. Read more.
Growing Leadership Character
Growing Leadership Character is an effective way to develop leaders and broaden the ethical conversation within an organization. It provides the structure for developing leadership character in management and throughout the organization.
Growing Leadership Character (GLC) is a cascading learning process. It is designed to expose an entire organization to specific concepts of integrity-based leadership. Because the most effective way to learn is to teach, we utilize a cascading Leaders Teaching Leaders approach. This approach allows leaders to be heavily involved in both facilitating and modeling the key concepts with a minimal impact on their time.
Overall goal: to create an organization where every person understands and “lives” the qualities of the Leadership Character Model™. This simple yet profound model is grounded in the belief that character is the foundation for leadership. In an organization, leaders with Integrity create trust. Leaders who demonstrate a high degree of Respect create engagement and commitment, and those who “live” Responsibility create initiative and discipline. Ultimately, leaders with Integrity who balance Respect and Responsibility will always deliver maximum results.
In multi-level organizations, the GLC process is typically rolled out in three phases:
I. In Phase I, senior leaders attend a one-day Leadership Character workshop during which they will learn the basics of the Leadership Character Model™, receive feedback on their own Leadership Character, and prepare to teach a 1.5-hour training module to other managers in the organization.
II. In Phase II, the next management tier completes the same process in preparation to teach the remaining modules to the next level of supervisors.
III. In Phase III, first-level supervisors attend a full day Leadership Character Workshop and receive feedback on their Leadership Character. Leaders at all levels will take part in reinforcement activities.
“Managing ethical values in the workplace legitimizes managerial actions, strengthens the coherence and balance of the organization’s culture, improves trust in relationships between individuals and groups, supports greater consistency in standards and qualities of products, and cultivates greater sensitivity to the impact of the enterprise’s values and messages.”
Written by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD from information in Donaldson and Davis, in “Business Ethics? Yes, But What Can it Do for the Bottom Line?” (Management Decision, V28, N6, 1990)
Setting the right tone from the top builds trust and helps ensure SOX compliance. Read more.
*Complete Guide to Ethics Management: An Ethics Toolkit for Managers
Written by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD
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